The Calgary Flames will not be part of the Stanley Cup playoffs when they begin on Wednesday night. But their American Hockey League affiliate (the Stockton Heat) has fared a bit better than the NHL club, and they’re even north of .500!
Can the Baby Flames make the post-season?
HOW THE PLAYOFFS WORK THIS YEAR
As you may recall, the Stockton Heat is part of the Pacific Division and is one of five California-based clubs in the AHL (that all play fewer games than the rest of the league).
The California teams all play 68 games, while the rest of the league plays 76 games. To compensate for the difference in games-played, the AHL devised a variation on the traditional playoff qualification that focuses on points percentage rather than points. And since their divisions have differing numbers of teams, they devised a modified playoff scheme.
From the AHL site:
The top four teams in each of the AHL’s four divisions as ranked by points percentage (points earned divided by points available) will
qualify for the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs, with one possibility for a
“crossover” in each conference: if the fifth-place team in the Atlantic
or Central Division finishes with a better points percentage than the
fourth-place team in the North or Pacific Division, it would compete in
the other division’s bracket.
HOW DO THE HEAT STACK UP?
To make the playoffs, the Heat have to (a) finish fourth in the Pacific AND (b) have a higher points percentage than the fifth-place team in the Central Division.
|Texas Stars||Pacific, 3rd||73||3||.589||.605||.566|
|Charlotte Checkers||Central, 5th||72||4||.556||.579||.526|
|San Jose Barracuda||Pacific, 4th||65||3||.546||.566||.522|
|Stockton Heat||Pacific, 5th||63||5||.508||.544||.471|
|Bakersfield Condors||Pacific, 6th||64||4||.508||.537||.478|
|e-San Antonio Rampage||Pacific, 7th||73||3||.479||.500||.461|
|e-Chicago Wolves||Central, 6th||72||4||.472||.500||.447|
|e-Iowa Wild||Central, 7th||71||5||.387||.428||.361|
|e-Manitoba Moose||Central, 8th||72||4||.382||.414||.362|
Stockton will be eliminated from the playoffs once their maximum points percentage (Max Pt%) is less than Charlotte’s minimum points percentage (Min Pt%). In short? The Heat need to win out and get some help in the form of Charlotte losing a lot.
It’s possible, but it’s not all-together likely.